What is Java?

Java is more than just coffee. In the computing world, Java is programming language. Just like we use words to create sentences, developers use Java to create applications and build programs.

If you’ve heard of Java, you’ve also probably heard of JavaScript – but besides sharing similar names, the two don’t have too much in common.

JavaScript (which was developed by NetScape) is not part of the Java platform. Where you’ve probably seen JavasScript is in HTML documents (HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language). Without going into too much detail, one of the biggest differences is:

  • Java = programming language.
  • JavaScript = scripting language.

It can be confusing, but just remember: a large number of sites use JavaScript scripting language – not many require Java programming language.

Uses for Java

Java programming language can be used to :

  • Create applications. Java programming language is necessary if a developer needs to create an app that can either run on a single computer, or across different servers and clients in a network.
  • Small app modules. One of the uses for Java is also building small applications modules (also known as applets). An applet performs one specific task, and is designed to be executed from another app. What makes it different from a full-blown application? You can’t directly execute an applet from an OS (operating system).

How Java works

It’s not really a question of how Java works, and more of a question of what needs Java to work. There are a lot of websites that rely on Java, so without it, some webpages and apps may not be available to you!

If you need to run Java to access a site, you can install it for free. Just visit the Java website and choose which OS you have (Microsoft, Mac OS X, Linux or Solaris). Then you can install it by simply following the instructions.